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Ozric Tentacles - Live at the Pongmasters Ball CD (album) cover

LIVE AT THE PONGMASTERS BALL

Ozric Tentacles

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.61 | 80 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well well well .. having enjoyed "The Hidden Step" album of the band, I finally got hooked to the band. I'm lucky that I got this live album CD from local CD shop here in my city. I did not expect much about this album because this is a "live" recording and I believe the band had been so great with their sound exploration as far as recording it in the studio. But I was wrong, to my surprise this live album is really great and a masterpiece! All sound exploration as I usually hear in their studio album can be heard in great details here with excellent sonic audio quality. All musicians contribute excellently: guitar work by Ed Wynne, bass line by Zia Geelani, keyboard and effects by Seaweed as well as dynamic drumming (reminds me to DREAM THEATER's Portnoy) by Schoo. Flute takes some parts of the music but not positioned as soloist like we've always heard in any FOCUS or JETHRO TULL albums. I think the flute parts should be elevated somehow in their next composition.

DISK 1

"ODDENTITY" opens the album with audience crowd (as in typical live recording) followed by a keyboard sound. The music enters when the drum, bass, guitar and keyboard play together in fast tempo. The music is dominated by rocking electric guitar by Ed Wynne. What a great rocking part here; the guitar work is really stunning, accentuated by weird (but nice!) keyboard effects. At approx minute 3:15 there is a musical break where the drum and bass line stop and only keyboard effects, flute and some guitar effects. It set the atmosphere for the next part of the music when drum enters the scene followed by dazzling bass line. The music turns to a little bit slower tempo with the kind like BILLY COBAM's "Stratus" style with dominant bass line. This second part is really nice. Various instrument solos are performed here: keyboard effects, woodwind trumpet (in my country, we call it "tarumpet penca" used to be played in REOG PONOROGO - our traditional acts). Throughout this track, the drumming work by Schoo is really dynamic.

"ERPLAND" is the band's classic performed in a very energetic way with an upbeat tempo. This track sounds like a jazz-rock fusion music with frequent tempo changes but still maintaining the characteristic of Ozric's music: sound effects and keyboard sounds. The electric guitar solo in the middle of the track is really excellent. Some transition segments are performed dynamically and smoothly.

The band then brings us to a musical break through a mellow track. Well, at least the opening part of "OAKUM" is relatively mellow with exploration of keyboard sounds. Having been satisfied with the nice keyboard work the music gradually rise to a faster tempo and finally . it's rocking again! (Yeah . it happens approx at the last half of the track). This is the strong point of the band: able to create musical orgasm to the listeners through the exploration of sounds even though, sometimes, the background music is repetitive.

The fourth track "MYRIAPOD" is probably the OZRIC's answer to progressive metal. Yeah . the music is like DREAM THEATER's "Scene from Memory" with bits of riffs that are not really obvious but I can sense it really well. It starts with nice, bit distorted, electric guitar rhythm followed by drumming and bass line. Some transitions using fast beats in the vein of prog metal music happen throughout the span of this track. Bass line is really dynamic here. The solo keyboard in the middle is performed free of effects - this is unusual for the band. The effects only happen when it creates an atmosphere for electric guitar solo. This track has frequent tempo changes.

"IT'S A HUP HO WORLD" starts with an atmospheric keyboard sound (sampling) followed by electric guitar work in relatively slow tempo. The space music style is appearing here in this track especially on the keyboard work that function as background music as guitar is taking the lead. The guitar is sometimes in the vein of PINK FLOYD with some parts played acoustically.

"PIXEL DREAM" is my all-time favorite track of "The Hidden Step" album. It is performed dynamically in this live version. What makes this track fascinating to me is the magnificent guitar work accompanied by great bass line and dynamic drum work. Composition-wise this track is really great. The music flow nicely from guitar-driven to keyboard-driven in some transitions and goes back and forth with these two instruments. Schoo plays energetically with his drum stools and most of the parts he play accentuate the music especially during transitions.

Usually I don't favor any reggae music but this band has played reggae in a unique way through "THE DOMES of G'BAL" track. The intensive use of sound effects in a spacey style has made this track different with any UB 40 like bands. When the electric solo guitar enters the music, it does not really sound reggae at all.

"PYRAMIDION" is a long track with repetitive music rhythm (especially bass line). However, the wild use of sound effects and great lead guitar work and keyboard solo have made this track dynamic.

DISK 2

"SAUCERS" starts with excellent acoustic guitar work followed with jazz-rock fusion music and sound effects. Acoustic guitar plays lead melody. Thin solo keyboard appears in eastern music style before it finally demonstrates sound effects. Compared to other tracks, this one is probably less spacey at the beginning. Electrical guitar finally takes solo part in the middle of the track with excellent bass line and keyboard work and provide spacey elements at the end of the track.

"DISSOLUTION" starts mellow with solo keyboard and thin voices in a spacey mode. FLOYDIAn guitar work then continues to flow nicely. It then creates a guitar sound that reminds me to the intro of Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell" (especially the live version). It's a very cool solo guitar. When drum comes into play combined with drum sound, it provides a rocking nuance. The music then flows into continuous flow in faster tempo. The howling guitar sound is really stunning. Drum work is dynamic. Keyboard then follows with spacey nuance. Excellent.

Third track "SPLOOSH" has repetitive drum work at the beginning part but it changes in the middle especially when electric guitar solo takes its part. Uplifting track with relatively minimum tempo changes.

"TAKHUT" starts mellow with brilliantly pan pipe (woodwind) sounds in a middle-east style. It reminds me to GONG Shamal music even though the two are different in composition. It then followed by electric guitar sound in the vein of ALEX LIFESON of Rush. This guitar work reminds me to "The Spirit of Radio" intro. The intro remarks the next track "KICK MUCK". An interesting track in a fast tempo.

This live album concludes with "THE THROBBE" that features flute sound after relatively long keyboard intro. Great drumming and keyboard sound effects (as usual) accentuated by flute-work. Lead guitar does its role in the middle of the track.

SUMMARY

It's a great album to enjoy regardless you are new to Ozric music or die-hard fans of the band. Yes, there are some repetitive music pieces but the band has crafted in such a way with inclusion of wild sound effects and distortion that make their music is not boring. If you are into PORCUPINE TREE or PINK FLOYD or JEAN MICHELLE JARE (not alike actually), you may enjoy this album. This is a masterpiece album because it has a very tight music composition with excellent songwriting and musicianship. They deliver perfect music through this album. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Rating: 5/5. (Having observed various ethnical sounds produced by the band, I think they should come over to INDONESIA because we have thousands of ethnics spread out in many islands under Indonesia's archipelago). - GW, Indonesia.

Gatot | 5/5 |

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